Just a few months into navigating COVID-19-related constraints, leaders of the G7 will meet in the USA, most likely in September, as governments move from ‘rescue’ to ‘recovery’ mode. Recently, leading voices from politics and businesses in the US strongly suggested that recovery measures should be guided by sustainability principles, promoting a ‘green’ recovery.
Indeed, a study from Oxford University, based on a survey including the leading financial institutions, underscored that it will be wise to ‘build back better’ (IPSOS 2020), for example, through stimuli packages supporting clean physical infrastructure, building efficiency, preservation of ecosystems, research in clean technologies, sustainable farming and, education and training, among other elements.
Furthermore, research from financial analysts (Morningstar, MSCI, HSBC, and others) has shown that funds representing environmental, social, and governance investments significantly outperformed comparable peer groupings in the first quarter of 2020. It appears that COVID-19 has prompted investors to increasingly factor in sustainability principles into their investment process.
As thoughtful and visionary leaders connect the dots between the COVID-19 crisis and other emergencies in context of climate change, sustainability principles seem to provide important guidance to ‘prepare better’. Not surprisingly, the European Commission based its recent recovery proposal ‘Next Generation EU’ on driving sustainability competitively.
Governments and companies that were early adaptors and practitioners of sustainability strategies, clearly fared better in that latest crisis. Let’s hope that those lessons learned will be a ‘hot topic’ at this year’s G7 summit and resonate with all leaders.
Thomas Weber, Founder & President, Global Climate Associates LLC
Center for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) Affiliate
 CERES, LEAD on Climate 2020 event, see https://www.leadoncarbonpricing.com/